After a few rides, especially after a series of wet rides, your wheel brake surface will be covered in a black gunge, it’s a good idea to do some maintenance on them after.
In order to keep your rims working well, and wear down, clean off the surface of the brake track with hot soapy water. Then, get a cloth and some isopropyl alcohol, and wipe them down. You’ll be amazed at how much more gunk comes off.
Now, with the wheels off the bike, give the brake pads a look. Look for any embedded metal fragments, and pick them out with a sharp pick. Wipe them down with the alcohol, and if they look glazed, or smooth just take a file or sandpaper and rub them down. Also, while your here it’s a good chance to check just how worn they are.
Respect your pedals. They suffer a lot of abuse but just keep on going..
My pedal maintenance is simple. Every few rides, I lube the contact points with a dry lube, this avoids the annoying pedal squeak when the cleat rubs. Drop a drip into the spring mechanism while your here.
Every once in a while, I’ll crack open the axle, clean it off and fill the chamber with fresh grease. Reinsert the axle and snug it down driving the grease up through the bearings.
I’d used the muc off biogrease for this first time, and the pedals went slack really quick. Did them about 500 miles ago, this time using Park Tools grease. Spinning the pedals today, they are smooth, with a little resistance from the grease. Perfect.
Needless to say, that tube of biogrease has been binned never to be seen again.
I’d bought a new set of wheels, that come with cup and cone bearings, and what excuse do I need for another tube of grease to try. My existing greases would of worked fine, but wanted something that was quite thin, and tacky. The crystal grease is a little too thick, the park tools grease has a tendency to stain light coloured areas. The exus blue would of been my choice, however I’ve sorta stopped using it in favour of the crystal. So I’d ordered a tube of Rock ‘n’ Roll Super Web. The stuff Is amazing in bearings. It’s quite a thin grease but hellishly sticky and coats everything. It’s ideal in the hubs and loose bearings. Being a nice bright white colour, it’s easy too see where it’s applied too.
I’ve also had to replace the rear brake caliper. I’d disconnected the cable to space the pads a little further out, and when I removed the cable, the right hand arm had a massive amount of play. So I’ve ordered a new R8000 ultegra to replace it. I’ll also redo the front caliper later in the month.
So I decided to splash out on a new set of hoops, and purchased the Fulcrum Racing 3.
I like Fulcrum wheels, they are sturdy, well built and easy to service. I started with the racing 5, moved onto the Quattro and now on the Racing 5.
A test spin in the hand, and that feeling of buttery smoothness was evident. These wheels have cup and cone bearings, which I prefer as maintenance is slightly easier than the cartridge bearing. The quattros need a bearing change for sure again.
I’m looking forward to putting racing 3 on the bike and having a good 15 mile ride tomorrow..
Bad day for bearings in which my freehub bearings died, so they where replaced with the last ones I had in my parts bin. No Biggie, as they had done quite a distance.
But the biggest hit came in my bottom bracket. I’d fitted a Hope Bottom bracket, which initially felt so incredibly smooth. But the recent bout of bad weather seems to of killed it. To say I’m disappointed is an understatement.
Trying to locate a rather annoying noise, I’d removed pedals, seatpost, saddle and cranks. The pedals where dismantled, and regreased after the crappy muc off bio grease had completely gone due to washout, the seatpost greased along with the saddle rails. But sticking a finger into the bottom bracket and spinning it feels like a very very rough non drive side bearing. The drive side oozed a very watery grease effluent too. Obviously water has got into the bearings and washed them out.
So for now at least, a £17 ultegra bracket has been refitted. An ultegra bracket costs roughly the same as a single bearing for the Hope BB. I think I’ll stick with the tried and tested bottom bracket until I hear back from Hope.
I don’t much mind riding in the rain, its a refreshing change. But it can be miserable as pleasurable. Large cars and trucks throwing filthy water in all directions, hidden holes in puddles and low visibility.
The Monsoon type weather we’ve been having here recently has rather dampened my riding. My chain is currently dry lubed, which means any long distance in much more than a light rain will see me squeak along the road, and a noisy bike to me at least, is incredibly irritating.
But ride I must, so its out with the overshoes, and long sleeved jerseys and off.
Wish me luck.
I’ve amassed a small collection of multi tools over a few years. They are definitely something you want on every ride, just like a spare tube. Don’t skip MP when buying a multitool. It could very well be the difference of walking home, or riding home.
Park Tool IB-2
by far, my favourite, and comes on nearly every ride, is the Park Tool IB-2
It has almost every tool I’d need for simple roadside help. It’s simple, well thought out and the tools have a decent length. Very light and small. However, the tools can get discoloured quite quickly, but it has no effect apart from being unpleasing on the eye. It’s also very easy to break down, clean and lubricate. If you do break it down, be sure to apply a small amount of threadlock to the bolts, there is a tendency for it to loosen over time.
- 1.5, 2, 2.5, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 8mm hex wrenches
- T25 Torx® compatible driver
- Flat blade screwdriver
- Dimensions: 75mm x 40mm x 18mm (2.87″ x 1.57″ x 0.71″)
- Weight: 108g (3.8 ounces)
Moving up in the tool stakes, this tool has a few more options, but larger, heavier and bulky.
It also has a bonus of a easy to use CO2 head. I find the flap for the chain tool flaps around, and the tools are a little short, as well as the small Allen keys are 90 degree angles on the head.
- Hex 2, 2.5, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8mm
- Torx T25, T30
- Phillips and flat head screwdriver
- Chain Breaker: (9/10/11 speed)
- Spoke Wrenches: Mavic Mtv, 3.22, 3.45
- Tire Lever with open end 10mm wrench
- Bottle Opener with open End 8mm wrench and disk brake wedge
- Presta/Schrader Co2 Inflator
Quite the impressive list of tools. The finish of the tools is corrosion proof, and a high quality finish.
But, it’s not really a tool I carry often. Mostly due to the bulk. If I’m on a long ride, with a larger saddle bag, I might consider it, but it often plays second fiddle to the IB-2. The CO2 inflators, is always in my saddle bag, as it’s small, and a lot easier to use than the other inflators I have to hand.
This thing is an absolute monster. Virtually every tool you could need. But it’s seriously heavy and bulky.
Well, maybe not every tool, but each tool is strong and well constructed out of steel. I don’t think I’ve ever really had this out on many rides, it’s sat in my toolbox for a quite some time.
And the second most used tool I have at my disposal
Topeak Mini 20 Pro Multi Tool
I like this one, and it’s often found in my jersey pocket. It’s light, flat, and a good selection of tools.
- 2/2-L/2.5/3 (2 each) 4/5/6/8/10mm
- 14g/15g/ Mavic M7
- Shimano Compatible Chain Tool
- Cast CrMo Steel chain hook
- Stainless Steel Wire Tire Levers
- Super Hard Anodized* (*The metal tire lever is designed for durability and for emergency use only)
- #2 Phillips/ Flat Head
- Hardened Steel/ with Spoke Holder
- Chain Pin Breaker
All the tools are made from aluminium, and the body is steel. The tools are a little on the short side, but easily useable.
Easy to have in a jersey pocket, or saddlepack for when you need it, and the most common sizes of Allen keys for when you need them.
But whatever multitool you choose, don’t just let it sit there. You need to make sure it’s clean, rust free and the tools lubricated. Everyonce in a while, clean out any grit or crud and give it a drip of dry chain lube in the joints.
Well, mostly they do. I use a set of Fulcrum Quattro, they are now a few years old but plenty of life left in them. But they did need a bit of TLC the other day. I couldn’t be bothered to change the bearings so I swapped them over temporarily for a set of Mavic Aksiums that I have hanging around the garage.
The Aksiums, are in all honesty, a cheap set of wheels and it shows in their performance. They are heavy and slow. The other thing I’d noticed, was their breaking distance is longer than the Quattro.
On the second ride with the magics, my average speed was much lower, and I had a lot more effort going into maintaining speed. Then the noise started. The constant eek eek noise from the free hub. Drove me insane.
So they have been removed, and the free hub bearings replaced in the Quattro, cycling nirvana restored.
I was well and truly blessed by mechanicals on my latest ride. I barley got 4 miles, in the pouring rain, and felt a thumping from the rear wheel. OK, I think that may be a puncture. Yup. The tyre was getting softer by the second.
So a push to the nearest bench, and a repair put in place. But, it was’nt to be. My CO2 cannister leaked out, and it was the only one I was carting around. So, removed the chuck from the valve, and the curse of the Continental inner tube struck. The whole valve assembly had come off in the chuck.
Ah well, cue a phone call for a delivery of CO2 Cannisters, so I could try again. Managed to get the valve core out the chuck, and put it back in as tight as I could. Trying the second cannister, it too leaked. The valve also came out again, and this time, I couldn’t get it out the chuck. Loaded the bike into the back of the car, and sheepishly got a lift home.
Back at home, I applied Locktite to the valve core and tightened it stupid tight. No way that’s coming out again. Lesson learned, always tighten Continental tubes well before they are needed.
Inflated the tyre, and then I saw it. A gash, deep into the tyre. Thats a write off then. It was impossible to see until the tyre was inflated to pressure.
Time to start looking at tyres. The Rubino Pro tyres I had been using, are good general tyres, not fast, but pretty sure footed and grippy. I looked at Vittoria Corsa, and ruled them out by the reviews I read about them being delicate and fast wearing. I finally settled on the Michelin Pro4 Service Course. Never used Michelin tyres, and I was happy with the reviews I’d read. So looking forward to trying them.
So, I rode a route I hadn’t ridden in quite a while yesterday, and was interested to see my timings.
On one segment, I was beating my previous time by about 10 seconds, until the end of the segment, where the time ahead started to drift back down. And much to my surprise, I finished at exactly the same time as the previous PB. But when I looked on Strava, the times, where exact for each of my efforts over the years. What are the chances of that?
7 Minutes and 38 seconds, and its the slight uphill at the end of the segment that kills it for me. So, I need to try harder!
Using the compare tool on the segment page, I’m able too see I was faster all the way down to the base of the hill, then that gap really started to close in on me, before the lead just went.
I’ll keep trying the segment, and now I’m loosing more weight, I’m sure given time and effort I’ll be able to pull it back down to under my current PB.
The Single speed bike is badly unwell. A few spokes started to come loose, and pinging while riding, which also kicked the wheel out of true. Like a proper idiot, I tightened the spokes without thinking, and of course made the wheel a damn sight worse than it was. These are horrible wheels that came stock with the bike, and with a non removable freewheel. So instead of wasting time and effort on properly truing the wheels, I just decided to replace them and be done with it. A quick trip over to Santa Fixie, and a wheelset was ordered. Nothing special, but better and lighter than what I have. Maybe one day, I’ll buy a wheel truing stand, but I don’t have much, or any need for it apart from these cheap Chinese wheels. But I might save them for learning how to true and wheel build, which to me at least, is a dark art.